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Interview with Tom Kerpert

Home > Designer Interviews > Tom Kerpert

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Tom Kerpert (TK) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Tom Kerpert by clicking here.

Interview with Tom Kerpert at Tuesday 17th of April 2012
Tom Kerpert
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
TK: My background is in engineering, specifically plastics engineering and I have been involved in product development and design through most of my career. Eight years ago I decided to leave the corporate environment to concentrate on product design and pursue my own ideas.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
TK: I started my studio 8 years ago after leaving the corporate environment. My aim has always been to provide a "concept to product" service to my clients.

FS: What is "design" for you?
TK: The "perfect" design encompasses functionality, aesthetics, ease of use and ease of manufacture, longevity and recyclability, form and function have to go hand in hand as equal partners

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
TK: I admire the work of the "Wiener Werkstaette", the first attempts on clean functional and aesthetic design for everyday articles.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
TK: Plastic containers and closures.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
TK: Plastics in all its forms and processes. The possibilities are limitless from a material and processing point of view.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
TK: My most creative time is early in the morning with a clear head and the new african sun on my face

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
TK: There has to be an even balance between aesthetics, functionality and manufacturability. To achieve this balance is the most difficult part of the design process.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
TK: It definitely puts me in my "happy place" removed from time and space

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
TK: The is no greater sense of achievement then seeing something which started as a tiny seed in your head as finished product in your hands

FS: What makes a design successful?
TK: Functionality, aesthetics, ease of use for the end user

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
TK: What does it do for me? Is it improving my life materially, emotionally, intellectually?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
TK: Sustainability and recyclability are definitely key aspects to be taken into account in today’s design. Re-use and multi-use of articles are becoming more and more critical.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
TK: Design is becoming more and more important to set your product apart from the glut of very often mediocre offerings out there.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
TK: I had two photography exibitions in vienna in 1978, one in an art gallery and as part of a collective at the museum of the 20th century

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
TK: My inspiration comes from analysing everyday products, studying them and trying to improve on them, make the better, simpler and more affordable

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
TK: Minimalistic, finding that right balance between ease of use and ease of manufacture without compromising the aesthetics of the final product. I am always trying to combine design and engineering right from the start.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
TK: Living in South Africa together with growing up in Austria has given me a unique cross cultural experience which has definitely broadened my horizon and outlook to the world at large.

FS: How do you work with companies?
TK: I normally get commissioned by my clients for a specific project.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
TK: My suggestion to companies is get a good designer, trust him and let him get on with the job. Be clear in your mind what you want and produce a comprehensive brief. With regards to selection, look at his previous track record and see if you are also compatible on a personal level.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
TK: After receiving the brief from the client I look first for missing information and clarify all open questions. The next step is to provide the client with several possible solution concepts. Once a general direction has been agreed on I work towards the final design. On final design approval detailed CAD models and drawings are prepared for final manufacture.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
TK: My Samsung appliances and my original Thonet chair

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
TK: Learn as many different skills as possible, especially on the technology, engineering and manufacturing side.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
TK: The positve side is an outlet for your creativity the negative sometimes is the lack of vison of your clients

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
TK: Always keep the balance between aesthetics, use and manufacture

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
TK: Imagination, mental flexibility, and the ability to bring thought to paper or screen.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
TK: Computer 3D modelling, stereolithography, a large library and the world around me.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
TK: Being an independent designer gives me the flexibility to work anytime of the day or week when inspiration strikes.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
TK: That really depends on the project. It can be anything 16 hours to 16 weeks

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
TK: "How much will it cost?"

FS: What was your most important job experience?
TK: Working on design and manufacture together gave me the experience to design products which are functional from a use and manufacturing point of view without compromising aesthetics

FS: Who are some of your clients?
TK: My client base encompasses mostly small to medium size companies and a few multinationals

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
TK: Creating something usefull for the world

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
TK: I am planning to launch my own brand of designed products in the appliance and furniture fields.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
TK: I work and develop my designs by myself with constant interaction from the client to ensure the final design exceeds the client’s expectation.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
TK: I am working on new roll on deodorant concepts with a multinational company which are far removed from everything that is currently on the market.

FS: How can people contact you?
TK: Most of my clients came to me by referrals from existing clients or contacts in the various industries. Also via E-Mail on info@ddidesign.co.za


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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